The Outback to Ocean Boomerang

Explore the quirk and character of the outback in Kalgoorlie, Esperance and Hyden.

The Edge Section: Perth – Kalgoorlie – Esperance – Hyden – Perth

No time to do the whole road trip? Tackle The Edge in sections. Spend some extra time exploring the quirk and character of the outback journeys that you’ll take getting from ‘edge to edge’ on the The South West Edge road trip.

A drone image of a pink salt lake next to green bushland and the ocean
Lake Hillier, Esperance
Chapter 1

Perth to York


Start your journey from Perth to WA's oldest town, York. Stretch your legs with a wander through the colonial architecture of the heritage precinct of York. Wildflowers and birdlife compliment the open gardens and there's a wide range of experiences on offer including food and wine festivals, country racing, local produce and plenty of arts and crafts.

Chapter 2

York to Northam


Continue on to Northam, where you might like to stay overnight in the historic town, home to over 185 heritage listed buildings. Exploring the towns architecture on foot is a rewarding experience and along the way you'll also discover many craft and curio shops. Visit the Bilya Koort Boodja Indigenous Centre on the banks of the Avon River in town for an interactive education experience. Join experienced and knowledgeable local guides on walking or bus tours to discover Northam's diverse, natural and cultural history, or seek out the region’s wildflower hotspots and unique SILO.

Chapter 3

Northam to Merredin


Follow the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail to Kalgoorlie, stopping in Merredin to see their PUBLIC SILO art. Step back in time to the unique charm of Westonia’s Penn Hood Museum - a collection showcasing early life in the region – and Karalee Rocks – a historical water catchment area built in the mid-1800s. Fancy a walk? Take a walk on the Merredin Peak Trail, which boasts uninterrupted views of Merredin.

Chapter 4

Merredin to Kalgoorlie


Continue your way to Kalgoorlie, the hub of the Western Australian Goldfields and the largest city in the Australian Outback. From wild beginnings as a gold rush town full of fortune-seekers, it has grown into a bustling twin city with a distinctive character rich with history and heritage. Immerse yourself in outback gold rush history and quirky outback pubs. Be stunned by the scale of the Superpit gold mine or try your hand at prospecting. Visit the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society to research your own Goldfields connections or visit the outback bush at Karlkurla Park. Experience the Indigenous history of the region dating back 30 000 years with a Bush Ghoodhu Wongutha walking town or food and foraging tour, or walk the 4km trail through native bushland at Karlkurla Park. With a range of accommodation options, Kalgoorlie is a good place to put your head to rest.

Chapter 5

Kalgoorlie to Lake Ballard


Follow the Golden Quest Discovery Trail out to Lake Ballard near the town of Menzies. See the Antony Gormley Sculptures standing against the dramatic backdrop of Lake Ballard’s dry salt bed. Lake Ballard was the site chosen by British sculptor, Sir Antony Gormley, to display his world-famous ‘Inside Australia’ art installation of 51 sculptures. The work of local Indigenous artists, including the Tjuntjuntjara and Ilkurlka people are also on display in the historic federation building that houses Menzies Visitor Centre. There are a few accommodation options in Menzies if you're up for a rest after all the exploring including some great camping spots!

Chapter 6

Lake Ballard to Broad Arrow


On the way back to Kalgoorlie visit Broad Arrow, a 'Ghost Town’ located 38km north of Kalgoorlie on the road to Menzies. The town was gazetted in 1896, and at its peak during the gold rush, it had 15,000 residents, eight hotels, a soft drink factory, two breweries, a hospital and a stock exchange. By the mid 1920s the rush was over and the town was virtually abandoned. Broad Arrow Tavern, built in 1896, is a quintessential Aussie outback pub now provides food and accommodation to visitors.

Chapter 7

Broad Arrow to Norseman


Spend a day exploring Norseman. Explore the Norseman Heritage Trail and enjoy sweeping views from the Beacon Hill Lookout. Stop by the historical museum to learn about the Camel Train History and view the tin camels by WA artist Kurt Hotker.

Chapter 8

Norseman to Esperance


It's time to head for the coast! Esperance is an ideal base from which to explore a string of stunning beaches and the natural wonders on the south coast of Western Australia, including Cape Le Grand National Park, Cape Arid National Park and the paradise islands of the Recherche Archipelago. Keep the adventure rolling by exploring the numerous lagoons and beaches along the breathtaking 40km loop of the Great Ocean Drive as you come in to Esperance - 11 Mile Beach and Twilight Beach are favourites. Head to Esperance and sip on refreshments at the local brewery or take a walk along the Esplanade foreshore. Take in the town museums and craft shops, and the Rotary Lookout and Walk Trail, before watching a sunset at twilight.

Chapter 9

Great Ocean Drive


Could this be Australia’s most beautiful stretch of road? Don’t answer till you’ve traced Esperance’s famous route for yourself. One dazzling beach after another unfolds along the Great Ocean Drive, while the horizon is splashed with some 105 islands of the Recherche Archipelago, making the route feel a little like island hopping by car. Though it’s only 40km end to end, you could easily spend a day exploring the many beaches and hidden inlets of this gorgeous drive; stop at Nine Mile Beach to watch colourful windsurfers float across the water’s glassy top, and make time to see Twilight Cove, where you’ll spot spectacular rock formations that curve and loop out of the water. When you finally arrive back in town, head to the Rotary lookout for a view back across the coastline.

Chapter 10

Cape Le Grand National Park


This pristine park near Esperance is known for the famous Lucky Bay and its sunbaking kangaroos, along with its stunning scenery and idyllic beaches where you can go swimming, bushwalking, fishing and camping. The landscape changes from massive granite outcrops to freshwater pools and unbelievable white sandy beaches with views over many islands. Lucky Bay lives up to its name in plenty of ways - translucent water and sand like icing sugar, not to mention sunbaking kangaroos! Nearby, soak up the impressive turquoise ocean views of Hellfire Bay.

This secluded beach nestled between giant, granite rocks, boasts some of the most impressive turquoise ocean views in Western Australia. As this beach is a little less well known than nearby Lucky Bay, you may even be lucky enough to have the entire beach to yourself, making you feel like you’re on your own private island. The Recherche Archipelago sits in the distance, with the silhouettes of islands popping up through the ocean. This scenic bay is a perfect spot to swim in calm conditions followed by a picnic on the sand, with barbecue facilities at hand. Or, you might like to explore further afield to Wharton’s Beach (Duke of Orleans) or Condingup.

Adventure-seekers should hike up Frenchman Peak, a climb that is like the trajectory of a firework – short, steep and definitely memorable. It takes just 40 minutes to reach the top of this local icon (though you may take longer if you stop to enjoy the views en route), but it’s no casual stroll. Follow the markers as you curve around the east side of the mountain; the walking path presently turns into something more like a scramble as you navigate the rocky incline on approach to the summit. Arrive to spectacular views stretching over the park, along the coastline and out to the islands at sea; a bonus vantage point, framed by the mouth of a cave-like rock formation, is on offer when you retrace your steps back down the mountain. Just make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear!

Chapter 11

Lake Hillier

How pink can a pink lake be? Soar past Lake Hillier and you’ll soon have your answer. There’s no chance of missing this natural spectacle on a scenic flight (you’ll see the famous Lucky Bay from above, too). The lake’s hard-to-believe hue is a natural phenomenon resulting from bacteria found in the waters, turning the water a fluorescent pink shade you’ll snap again and again. It’s located on Middle Island, off the Esperance coastline – a spot you can actually explore on foot, if you choose instead to take a helicopter tour. Land by the beach and take the short walk to admire its gem-coloured tones from the on-ground viewing area, cordoned off to protect its precious pH balance. There’s plenty more to see and do – picnic on the beach by an almost 100-year-old shipwreck, spot dolphins and sea lions playing by the foreshore, or hunt for the grave of Matthew Flinders’ right-hand man, said to be buried here. There’s even a set of ruins to be explored, thought to be left by Australia’s first and only pirate, Black Jack.

Chapter 12

Esperance to Fitzgerald River National Park


With 20% of Western Australia’s wildflowers found here alone, not to mention the dramatic coastal views. Fitzgerald River National Park, recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most botanically significant national parks, is renowned for its rugged hinterland, coastal scenery and rare plant species, many unique to the park. In spring, the landscape is dotted with colourful wildflowers including banksias, hakeas, bottlebrush, feather flowers, Quaalup bell and many others. Go bushwalking on one of the trails - including to the top of East Mount Barren - and you might spot endangered native animals like the dibbler, a small marsupial which has recently been rediscovered in the park.

Chapter 13

Fitzgerald River National Park to Ravensthorpe


Make your way to the historic settlement of Ravensthorpe, where you’ll find untouched bushland, scenic lookouts, historic mining relics. Held annually over two weeks in September, the town hosts the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show, regarded as one of the biggest wildflower displays in the world, with over 600 labelled specimens. Marvel at the world’s tallest freestanding lollipop, see the large scale art installations that feature on the public SILO trail and watch for impressive fields of canola flowers in spring.

Chapter 14

Ravensthorpe to Wave Rock (Hyden)

Ready to catch a wave? This one’s a little different to its coastal counterparts. If you're heading back to Perth via Hyden, you won't want to miss the infamous Wave Rock. Instagram sensation @JeremyJauncey ¬(who is also the man behind Insta-juggernaut @beautifuldestinations) took his 600,000 followers to Wave Rock in 2015, declaring it a “Bucket list” location; @LeeAbbamonte – the youngest American to visit every country on Earth – has also been, seen and 'grammed about it. Thought to have formed some 130 million years ago, Wave Rock is entirely natural and measures about 15m (roughly three storeys) in height. It’s the perfect end to your Instagram highlights reel.

Chapter 1

The Start


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